ectic efforts to clear the snow and restore the affected services continued in Srinagar on the fourth consecutive day on Wednesday after three days of continuous heavy snowfall.
The entire administration of the district including all departments concerned was involved in efforts to restore the affected services with snow clearance receiving a major focus as at least four departments – including MED, PWD, SMC and PMGSY – were involved in the effort.
After an even heavier spell of snowfall Tuesday the snow clearance was started even earlier Wednesday morning beginning at around 4 am. By 6 pm in the evening the Mechanical Engineering Department with its fleet of 25 snow-clearance machines had cleared around 95 percent of the main road length – i.e. over 1240 out of 1305 kilometres – in Srinagar.
During this hectic snow-clearance operation – requiring 2 to 3 rounds of clearance due to continuous snowfall – at least 3 MED machines suffered damages. The damaged machines had to be repaired before being pressed into service again.
On the other hand PWD had pressed over 40 snow-clearance tractors and JCBs into service for clearing their areas of jurisdiction which included lanes and essential installations. Their main focus through the day remained hospitals and bridges and link roads. All hospitals and health centres in the district and approach roads thereto and most bridges roads were cleared by the afternoon.
Snow-clearance was hampered at many places especially in lanes where cars were parked on the road. At many places snowfall falling off and being shovelled off the roofs obstructed the lanes cleared earlier.
In rural Srinagar the PMGSY men and machines covered 5 major roads during the day. During the snow-clearance operation there one machine met an accident at Dardkhover village. The machine needed repairing before being pressed back into service. More roads are chalked for clearance tomorrow.
Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary visited various areas to inspect the response mechanism in operation across the district. Some of the areas he went during his visit were Khimber, Nishat, Zakura, Zaina Kadal, Soura and Shalteng where he monitored the snow-clearance operation going on there.
Other departments of the administration were also involved in relentless efforts to restore the affected services falling thereunder. The power department had pressed its entire workforce into service in efforts to restore the damages due to the snowfall. The power was restored in most areas at the end of the day — six of the eight distribution transformers which had been damaged were replaced and power supply in respective areas restored by the evening.
Tehsildars and BDOs were deputed in rural areas for ground assessment of the situation as a result of the snowfall and ensuring urgent assistance as required is processed and provided to the affected residents.
Through the day over 850 calls were received in different control rooms of the district administration. Most of these were responded with quickest possible action for redressal as sought. The administration facilitated movement of 32 patients who needed urgent shifting to hospitals and health centres for treatment or critical procedures. Based on demand as received in the DC Office control room ration kits were sent to 113 families
Smooth functioning of health facilities like hospitals and health centres remained amongst the top priorities of the district administration. Special teams were deputed to all hospitals to aid efforts at snow-clearance and restoration of affected services like power and water.
Meanwhile the Srinagar administration has sanctioned Rs 15 lakh as immediate assistance to affected families whose houses were damaged in the snowfall. The relief was sanctioned in favour of over 80 houses. Sanction was also accorded for release of Rs 4 lakh in the case of one death in shed collapse as reported.
To assess the exact losses resulting from the snowfall and the need for immediate relief the district administration has deputed Revenue officers and Rural Development officials to areas across the district.